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BOLIVAR, Mo. — Susan Cooper, assistant registrar, and Dr. Duke Jones, department chair of Christian Ministry and professor of Christian Education, received the Staff and Faculty Life Beautiful Awards during the annual employee Christmas banquet Dec. 3 at Southwest Baptist University.
“The designation ‘life beautiful’ is the highest honor a person can receive at Southwest Baptist University,” said Dr. Eric A. Turner, SBU president. “Each year during the Bolivar spring commencement, we honor two graduating seniors who are chosen by the faculty, who exemplify a ‘life beautiful.’ During our Christmas Banquet, we honor a faculty member and a staff member who exemplify a ‘life beautiful.’”
The Faculty Life Beautiful Award was established in 1987, and the Staff Life Beautiful Award was established in 1992.
Staff Life Beautiful
Susan Cooper first began working at SBU in 2011 in the Office of Graduate Education. She recently moved to the Office of the Registrar as the assistant registrar. Cooper attends First Baptist Church in Bolivar where she volunteers her musical talents to the FBC orchestra and is actively involved in her Sunday school class. She also volunteers her time in the community as an active member of PEO, as well as a community music club.
“She came to the Office of Graduate Education and went to work,” one of her co-workers said. “She established order and organization in a detailed fashion to an area that needed her expertise. She brought us to a new level. Although she transitioned to the Office of the Registrar, her footprint in Graduate Education will not be forgotten.”
Known for being friendly and cheerful, she developed sweet and valued friendships to those who visited the Gott Education building.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the registrar’s office is in good hands with this genuinely kind, hard-working, patient and godly addition to their team,” another co-worker said.
Faculty Life Beautiful
Dr. Duke Jones, a native of Waycross, Ga., has been a member of the SBU faculty since 2004 and currently is the department chair of Christian Ministry and a professor of Christian Education.
He has a bachelor of science degree in social studies education from Louisiana Tech University, a master of religious education and a doctorate of philosophy from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Duke Jones is able to deal with people and situations in a caring, Christ-like manner,” a colleague wrote. “His people skills are amazing.”
Dr. Jones was called to the ministry as a college sophomore in 1985, and has been committed to serving the Lord by educating the saved and unsaved, winning the lost and building Christian disciples.
“He’s passionate and he genuinely cares,” one of his students said. “Dr. Jones believes whole-heartedly in what he teaches. He wants everyone to succeed in class, but more importantly, he wants to challenge students to take something from his class to use as they pursue their walk with Christ.”
Dr. Jones has published numerous Bible studies and has been a contributing author in various publications. He has served as a minister in seven churches in Louisiana, Texas and Missouri, and currently is discipling students at Humansville Christian Church. He also volunteers in the community as a member of the reserve staff for the Bolivar Fire Department. Dr. Jones has a 17-year-old daughter, Taylore, and is married to Dr. Melinda Jones, a professor of music at SBU.
PHOTO: SBU's 2019 Life Beautiful Award recipients (left to right) Susan Cooper and Duke Jones.